Rules out stopping its use; admits ‘undertrained’ troopers deployed in Valley
New Delhi: Paramilitary CRPF, accused of disproportionate use of force in Kashmir Valley, on Monday ruled out use of pellet guns which it admitted was not a non-lethal weapon.
Addressing a press conference in New Delhi, Director General of Central Reserve Police Force K Durga Prasad said there was no weapon called “non-lethal” and the pellet guns was the “least-lethal” option available with the Indian force.
“We feel very sorry for them as youngsters have to bear injuries due to the firing of pellet guns. We ourselves are trying to use it in bare minimum so that there are lesser injuries. But we use them under the extreme situation when crowd control fails by other means,” he said replying a volley of questions on use of pellet guns in Kashmir Valley.
Hundreds of people, mainly young boys, have been injured due to pellets in the last fortnight in CRPF and police action against people.
The CRPF has received widespread criticism for the use of the weapon following which Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh to announce in Parliament that a committee will be set up to review use of pellet guns and find an alternative to it.
“Everybody feel bad when youngsters get hit. But still, we will have to use it (pellet guns) in extreme situation as of now. We hope that any (extreme) situation does not arise (in future),” the CRPF chief said, ahead of the force’s 77th raising day on Wednesday.
Prasad said the CRPF is already experimenting with the other options under the less-lethal weapon category available globally.
He said as many as 114 companies (about 11,400 personnel), which were undergoing training elsewhere, had to be pulled out and deployed in the state to control the situation arising after Wani’s death.
“Our annual training has suffered as we are in continuous deployment. As of today, all our training companies are deployed in some theatre or the other.
—With PTI inputs